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Robert E. Michler, M.D., Appointed Chair of Surgery at Einstein

The internationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon who first used minimally invasive and robotic surgery on heart patients, and who pioneered the safe use of human muscle cell injections...

April 3, 2008 -- (BRONX, NY) -- Robert E. Michler, M.D., the internationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon who first used minimally invasive and robotic surgery on heart patients, and who pioneered the safe use of human muscle cell injections to treat congestive heart failure, has been named Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and at Montefiore Medical Center, as well as Surgeon-in-Chief at Montefiore. The appointments were announced jointly by Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein, and Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and CEO at Montefiore. Dr. Michler will continue to serve as the Samuel Belkin Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, a position he has held since 2005.

dr. robert michlerIn his role as Surgeon-in-Chief, Dr. Michler will oversee all administrative surgical activities in the Montefiore Health System. Dr. Michler's vision for the Department of Surgery includes the development of a Center for Surgical Clinical Trials and the recruitment of renowned and promising surgeons in the fields of surgical oncology, breast surgery and women's health, colorectal surgery, pancreas surgery, and minimally invasive surgery. 

"Rob was the unanimous choice, particularly in light of the enormous respect he has garnered among his fellow surgeons and the leadership at Einstein and at Montefiore," said Dr. Spiegel. "We are confident that, in his dual role leading the departments of surgery as well as cardiothoracic surgery, his leadership and vision will further strengthen the clinical, research and teaching capabilities within the Department of Surgery that are integral to the medical school's mission."

"Rob Michler's extraordinary talents as a clinician, teacher and researcher make him the perfect choice to lead our surgical programs," said Montefiore President and CEO Steven M. Safyer, MD. "Montefiore and Einstein each have an outstanding national reputation and long-established tradition of surgical excellence. Rob's commitment to innovation, quality, and teamwork will establish a new standard of superior patient care among top-tier academic medical centers." 

Dr. Michler, whose seminal work in robotics led to FDA approval of robotics for mitral valve repair and for coronary artery bypass surgery, is the principal investigator of a five-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health aimed at evaluating new techniques, technologies and devices designed to improve the scientific basis of care in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Michler is the Chairman of the Surgical Therapy Committee of the NIH sponsored Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) international trial. His clinical research centers on the surgical treatment of heart failure and his laboratory research program focuses on the use of stem cells for myocardial regeneration.

"It is with great enthusiasm that I accept these additional responsibilities," said Dr. Michler. "We are in a very exciting and challenging era for surgery. My goal is to build on Montefiore's surgical history by assembling an unparalleled team of specialists to provide patients with the complete spectrum of innovative cancer treatments and minimally invasive surgical options. The creation of new knowledge and the ability to share this with patients through clinical trials will be the cornerstone of our surgical program."

Dr. Michler has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 30 book chapters in cardiothoracic surgery. In addition, Dr. Michler is chairman and founder of Heart Care International, a not-for-profit foundation providing diagnostic heart care and surgery to indigent children in developing countries. To date, Heart Care International has seen and diagnosed more than 1,000 children with heart disease and performed heart surgery on more than 500 children.

He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Pace Humanitarian Award, "The Order of Christopher Columbus" by the President of the Dominican Republic, and recognition as "Person of the Week" by ABC World News for his humanitarian work.

Dr. Michler joined Montefiore and Einstein from The Ohio State University Medical Center, where he was the John G. and Jeanne B. McCoy Endowed Chair, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation from 1997 to 2005. Previously he served as a tenured Associate Professor and Director of the cardiac transplantation program at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

Dr. Michler graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School, where he was a Leopold Schepp Scholar. He completed his residency in general surgery, fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation at Columbia and was chief resident in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Boston Children's Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Michler lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife, Sally, and their three daughters, Alexandra, Sarah, and Elizabeth.

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About Albert Einstein College of Medicine
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. It is the home to some 2,000 faculty members, 750 M.D. students, 350 Ph.D. students (including 125 in combined M.D./Ph.D. programs) and 380 postdoctoral investigators. Last year, Einstein received more than $150 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, the NIH funds major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Through its extensive affiliation network involving five hospital centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island - which includes Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein's officially designated University Hospital - the College runs the largest post-graduate medical training program in the United States, offering approximately 150 residency programs to more than 2,500 physicians in training. 

About Montefiore Medical Center
Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, encompasses 125 years of innovative medical "firsts," pioneering clinical research, dedicated community service and ground-breaking social activism.

A full-service, integrated delivery system caring for patients in the New York metropolitan region and beyond, Montefiore is a 1,122-bed medical center that includes three hospitals: the Henry and Lucy Moses Division, the Jack D. Weiler Division and The Children's Hospital at Montefiore; a large home healthcare agency; the largest school health program in the US; a 21-site medical group practice integrated throughout the Bronx and Westchester; and a care management organization providing services to 179,000 health plan members.

The medical center is ranked by the prestigious Leapfrog Group among the top one percent of all U.S. hospitals based on its strategic investments in sophisticated and integrated healthcare technology.

Montefiore's distinguished centers of excellence include cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, tissue and organ transplantation, children's health, women's health, surgery and the surgical subspecialties. Montefiore is a national leader in the treatment of diabetes, headaches, obesity, cough and sleep disorders, geriatrics and geriatric psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery, adolescent and family medicine, HIV/AIDS and social and environmental medicine, among many other specialties. For more information, please visit www.montefiore.org and www.MonteKids.org.